Niger, Mali, Senegal and the Central African Republic have been at the core of mediation activities for Mario Giro and his team. The financial support provided by the Fondation Chirac has helped them organize seminars and meetings with different stakeholders and coordinate their work program.
Frequent visits and discussions with senior representatives of the Government and civil society have been conducted to support the process that followed the political agreement signed in Rome in October 2010. This agreement has structured the transition path to the March 2011 elections, which went very well. After the election of the new President, Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, and the establishment of a government mandated by the voting booths, the Community of Sant’Egidio has continued to work for peace in crisis areas, notably with the former Tuareg rebels. The Libyan crisis, the end of the regime of Colonel Gaddafi and events in northern Mali have triggered such monitoring because Niger is at risk of fragilisation and instability. This commitment, especially in the north of the country, is important, particularly concerning the different ethnic and tribal authorities to prevent any contagion from Northern Mali.
The North is now out of control and under the influence of various armed factions including AQIM and other terrorist groups. While the government in Bamako called upon the international community to help it regain part of its territory, which has been swallowed by chaos, the Community of Sant’Egidio identified, contacted and met with representatives of MNLA (secessionist movement that triggered the political crisis) to create political dialogue with the representatives of Bamako’s political parties. The goal is to find a basis for agreement, to break the united front of the secessionists to the North, and to reintegrate within the national framework, those for whom this is still possible. The Malian crisis directly threatens all the countries in the region. It is extremely urgent to work for a political solution, especially considering the confusion in Bamako.
Senegal / Casamance
During 2012, the Community of Sant’Egidio proposed a plan to end the armed crisis in Casamance, through contacts with the new Senegalese President Macky Sall and Salif Sadio’s faction of the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance, the armed separatist group that has never renounced armed struggle. The Community of Sant’Egidio has actively worked on the situation in Casamance for nearly 20 years. In recent months, an agreement has been drawn up for negotiation in Rome which should begin shortly.
Central African Republic
The country has long been considered a failed state by observers of the international community and one of the world’s poorest nations. The Community of Sant’Egidio has continued to meet with opposition leaders (civilian and military) and government representatives to propose a dialogue involving all parties with the assistance of some of the country’s key religious leaders. A basic national consensus is urgently needed for the Central African Republic to regain control of its territory; which is currently crisscrossed by guerrillas from neighboring countries such as Chad, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.